Really, that is the only answer to Chris Kenny and his big money intervention into Delaware politics in 2020, where his trying to buy three Senate races. I am going to point you first to the Delaware Call’s story on the matter back on September 24 that first alerted us to this matter. And then I will post the Delaware Democratic Party’s response to it that was published last night.
First, the Call:
For this election cycle, the Delaware Department of Elections’ campaign finance reporting database shows just 20 individual contributions of more than $20,000, nearly half of which are loans by candidates to their own campaigns. There are just a handful of contributions topping $40,000—and the family behind a chain of locally-owned Shoprite grocery stores has made three of them.
The Kenny family has spent $495,000 in state elections since 2019, fueling speculation that Chris Kenny, heir to the family’s business empire, is catering to state Republicans in anticipation of running for public office. According to campaign finance documents filed with the Department of Elections, these large-dollar contributions are being made exclusively to Republican-aligned political action committees (PACs), which then distribute the cash to state and local candidates up and down the ballot.
This all has some political insiders wondering: If the Kenny family is willing to spend $500,000 during an election where their name isn’t even on the ballot, how much will they spend when it is?
Read the whole story. And now the release from the Delaware Democratic Party:
Finance Reports tell a clear story: Anti-worker dark money is trying to buy a Republican State Senate
Chris Kenny is single-handedly trying to buy the Delaware State Senate for Republicans, and recently filed campaign finance reports make it crystal clear.
In total, Kenny has contributed nearly $500,000 to three GOP-aligned political action committees, with one – A Better Delaware PAC – spending nearly $180,000 in independent expenditures between August 29 and October 7.
These third-party expenditures have exclusively benefitted just three Republicans – Cathy Cloutier, Anthony Delcollo, and Dave Lawson. The filings show each Senator has already benefited from as many as eight mail pieces and two digital ad campaigns, with three weeks still to go before Election Day.
“A Better Delaware isn’t pro-business; it’s anti-worker,” said Delaware Democratic Party Chair Erik Raser-Schramm. “It is a conservative organization that is desperate to thwart future increases to Delaware’s minimum wage, opposes expanded benefits like paid family leave, and in the state with the lowest tax burden in America, is an advocate for further tax breaks for wealthy corporations that would make it impossible to properly fund things like education reform. As they attempt to buy these three Senate seats, Delawareans should be concerned about the kind of legislation they’re buying in the process.”
A glimpse at the 30-Day finance reports indicates just how beholden to A Better Delaware these three Senators are. Cloutier raised just $12,000 into her campaign committee in 2020, while Lawson raised just $26,500 and Delcollo tallied $38,000. All three spent minimally on their own campaign communications.
“Taken together, the campaign finance reports tell a clear and deeply concerning story: these Republicans are willfully skirting campaign finance laws by knowingly outsourcing their campaign communications to A Better Delaware PAC,” Erik Raser-Schramm said. “The fact that these campaigns are doing virtually no political advertising of their own indicates they knew that assistance would be coming from a dark money entity like A Better Delaware and it raises questions about what kind of influence the campaigns had over that messaging.”
As Title 15, § 8002 of the Delaware Code clearly states, it is not considered an independent expenditure when “[t]here is any arrangement, coordination or direction with respect to the expenditure between the candidate or the candidate’s agent and the person…making the expenditure.”
Further, the Code states a communication does not qualify as an independent expenditure when “[t]he expenditure is based on information provided to the person making the expenditure directly or indirectly by the candidate or the candidate’s agents about the candidate’s plans, projects or needs.”
Kenny’s nefarious foray into electioneering isn’t confined to these three races. The K3C PAC, which has spent thousands of dollars on incendiary mailers targeting Kent County Democrats, was seeded with $45,000 from Kenny Family Shoprite stores.
Unpopular opinion… But Wilmington is a food desert and it’s an extremely privileged statement to ask people to boycott ShopRite, when Shop Rite is the only grocery store for many in Wilmington (especially in South Bridge and surrounding areas). The Acme in Trolley isn’t accessible for most (in more than just transportation ways)– So until there are other stores that can service that area, it will be next to impossible.
But look, as a cis-gendered suburban-ite woman, I will gladly continue to never shop at and give money to a family that supports the likes of Mike Ramone and the GOP– Union busting families and legislators have no room in my life. But I know I can do that from a position of extreme privilege, and I will never begrudge a person who shops at ShopRite because we’ve given them no other choices.
Understood. Boycott if you have other options, obviously.
There’s a Great Valu in Adams 4, and seriously, the Shop Rite at the Riverfront is not as nice or as well stocked as the one up on 202. Wilmington COULD use more and better food store choices (I lobbied the Baker Admin HARD for a Wegmans where the current Shop Rite is). STILL there are more Shop Rites than the one in Wilmington.
@PCGirl: Your point is well taken, but the fact that some people should ignore a boycott is no reason not to call for one. The simple fact is that most people are unaware of the owner’s fascism and should be made aware of it. At that point consumers can make up their own minds.
@Alby- I definitely didn’t say don’t call for one, was pointing out that we should recognize the point of privilege it comes with to call for a boycott of this particular brand–which to DD’s credit, was acknowledged in response.
I don’t shop at walmart because of their union busting bull shit, but when my union members in Sussex County have limited options, I also don’t tell them they’re horrible for shopping there. They often tell me, they know they shouldn’t, but don’t have much of a choice.
Same thing here.
Boycott where and when you can. And in the meantime, we should work like hell to make ShopRite not one of the only options in Wilmo. I mean, we should have been working on this and I know the Food Bank of Delaware has been working on it since at least 2009–but being a designated food desert doesn’t help.
I will forever rep the Newark Farmer’s Market. prices are reasonable and the selection is incredible. I have been able to vastly expand my pallet and food repertoire since making that my main food store. (better produce section than any of the chain gorcers)
kinda far from Wilmington, I understand, but if people are able it is a great way to support a small local business. i’ll admit i dont know too much about whoever owns the place, so if it’s the NItWitzke fam, lemmie know.
We should lobby them to put a satellite location in Wilmington. Would agree their selection, and ability to expand pallets for a reasonable price is on par.
They do have a Wilmington location — the 7 Day Farmers Market on Lancaster Ave., in the old Pathmark building. Same owners as Newark Farmers Market, same wide produce and ethnic selections, meats, seafood, etc. Also I see on Google Maps that there’s a Save-A-Lot on Lancaster down around Rodney St., although I’ve never been there.
Equally if not more dangerous is the Kenny Foundation. It does some legitimate public facing work in the area of Criminal justice reform and selectively donates to community organizations. However a closer look will reveal a cynical effort to leverage these “good works” to gain the cover of a “diverse” footprint. A quick examination of their activities around public low income, school and senior feeding projects is a case in point.. One could reasonably conclude that Kenny is leveraging his non profit to gain financial benefit (profit) for his company to the detriment of several non profit’s in Delaware, notably the Food Bank of Delaware. If you must shop there at least don’t “donate” that buck!
And don’t forget Chris Kenny has been buying up online news sites up and down the state, including Milford Live from state Representative Bryan Shupe (R), cloning it to create Delaware Live, which he and Shupe run together. Also Town Square Delaware, rebranded as Town Square Live. Don’t forget Delaware Pigeon, where you can voice your opinion. It’s like he’s creating his own Faux News style machine, complete with unknowing subscribers to the weekly “newspapers” they email out. What politician couldn’t use that?
I signed up for the weekly Delaware Live online delivery they were touting some months ago, received one or two and then it disappeared. Didn’t miss it and so never followed up to find out what happened to it. Anybody know if they still distribute it?
Sorry, but our Market Street ShopRight has been great, is heavily staffed by excellent African Americans who really need these jobs, is handicapped accessible for me but also has an excellent Covid pick up service. But for symbolism, I’ll boycott the 202 store which is great, but I hardly ever use ! And I have certainly boycotted the Republicans Kenny is bankrolling with my now cast ballot as a yellow dog Democrat.